The Charlotte News

Sunday, February 2, 1941



Site Ed. Note: Reading "Pure Hokum" reminds us in contrast of something coming to our attention February 18, 2003. It seems that a couple of weeks back the White House scheduled a luncheon, a luncheon to celebrate literature, a luncheon to celebrate in particular poetry by inviting some contemporary poets to speak on their poetry and that of past poets, among them Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman. Well, it seems the contemporary poets wanted to read some poems against war, whether this particular war on the horizon or war in general is not clear. In any event, the White House stated that while respecting free speech, it has its opinion too and so no poets may be heard against war, or the war, as the case may have been. This event was not meant to be politicized.

So the poets went to Lincoln Center and read their poetry there instead.

We find this episode most remarkable. In time of talk of going to war in an unprovoked state of affairs unlike any situation in our country's history, with plenty of time to make that decision, supposedly with the overwhelming super-majority of the people behind it, the White House pointedly squelches dissent, refuses to listen even to the most tame and civil varieties of it, the reading of poems read by invited poets.

We had heard that the reason we were going to war--though increasingly we doubt the veracity of the claim and believe it instead to be a sentimental excuse, quite frankly, to enable a lot of Idahoers on the couch to feel manly, again--is to give "freedom" to those living in the country on which war is to be waged. But the first tenet of freedom anywhere, the sine qua non of real freedom everywhere, is freedom of speech. And freedom of speech unrestrained by content restrictions imposed because the substance of the message is disagreeable. For any the less freedom of speech, peaceably and civilly made, is none at all. If Voltaire had agreed with everything you say, he'd have likely been dead sooner.

Well, George III probably would have done the same thing. Those poets should feel lucky they weren't locked up, that they have the right to say and think as they wish, as long as what they say with which we don't agree is said, if at all, only in the park and hopefully without systems of amplification. Let's go wave the flag some more and feel good about the Colonies.

ALL you are doing and saying is to America dangled
You have not learn'd of Nature--of the politics of
Nature, you have not learn'd the great ampli-
tude, rectitude, impartiality;
You have not seen that only such as they are for These
And that what is less than they, must sooner or later
lift off from These States.

* * * *

To The States, or any one of them, or any city of The
States, Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, of this earth,
ever afterward resumes its liberty. --Walt Whitman

You can't say I didn't fight
To smash the Fascists' might.
You can't say I wasn't with you in each battle.
As a soldier, and a friend.
When this war comes to an end,
Will you herd me in a Jim Crow car
Like cattle?
Or will you stand up like a man
At home and take your stand
For Democracy?
That's all I ask of you.
When we lay the guns away
To celebrate
Our Victory Day
That's what I want to know

* * * *

Dreams and nightmares!
Nightmares, dreams, oh!
Dreaming that the Negroes
Of the South have taken over--
Voted all the Dixiecrats
Right out of power--

Martin Luther King is Governor of Georgia,
Dr. Rufus Clement his Chief Adviser,
A. Philip Randolph the High Grand Worthy.
In white pillared mansions
Sitting on their wide verandas,
Wealthy Negroes have white servants,
White sharecroppers work the black plantations,
And colored children have white mammies:
Mammy Faubus
Mammy Eastland
Mammy Wallace
Dear, dear darling old white mammies--
Sometimes even buried with our family.
Dear old
Mammy Faubus!

Culture, they say, is a two-way street:
Hand me my mint julep, mammy.
Hurry up!
Make haste! --Langston Hughes

Is an expression challenging the mainstream to think one which becomes only acceptable when it's time and burden have safely been laden upon the past?

A Confession*

Patronage McKellar Candidly Sets Forth His Position

It is now quite clear what standard of truth and honesty Senator McKellar, of Tennessee, uses. There never was much doubt for that matter, but now we have it out of his own mouth.

McKellar, whose sole claim to distinction is that he is the greatest patronage-hunter since the Grant Administration, is gunning for the scalp of J. Ross Eakin, superintendent of the Great Smokey National Park. Reason he wants that scalp is clear and simple: the park staff and expenditures represent a fat slice of patronage and pork. But Eakin, who was appointed before McKellar went to the Senate, won't even take orders from McKellar, let alone get out of the way and enable him to appoint one of his own creatures.

So McKellar brought charges against Eakin before the Hatch Committee. Chief of these charges was that Eakin was short $114,000 in his accounts. Chairman Hatch the other day said flatly that he had had those accounts audited by private auditors, and that Eakin emphatically was not short in his accounts. McKellar, however, has stuck to his charges.

Thursday before the committee was one Meyer, an auditor in the park service. It was on the basis of this man's testimony that McKellar had rested his whole case. He asked the questions he wanted to ask, got the answers he wanted, said happily to Meyer, "you are one of the few honest men in the park service." But then Chairman Hatch interfered with questions of his own, speedily brought from Meyer a denial that he had ever said that Eakin was short $114,000 in his accounts, that he had merely meant that there had been a certain carelessness about the way the funds were expended.

Shouted McKellar, "That was an infamous falsehood!" And he added that he wanted to withdraw from the record his statement that the witness was an honest man.

There you have it. McKellar's yardstick of honesty and truthfulness is clearly whether a man serves McKellar's purpose--which is patronage and always more patronage.

An Oversight

Peace Without Victory Group Should Explain How

Five hundred churchmen, belonging to a group called the Fellowship of Reconciliation, sign a sharp attack on the President and demand "a peace without victory." Among them are such well-known clergymen and religious leaders as Dr. John Haynes Holmes, of the Community Church in New York; Dr. Alan Knight Chalmers, of the Broadway Tabernacle in New York; Dr. Albert W. Palmer, president of the Chicago Theological Seminary; and Dean (of Religion) Elbert Russell, of Duke University.

How these people plan to get "peace without victory" they did not bother to say. Adolf Hitler has made it quite plain that it isn't to be had from him. The whole record, indeed, shows quite plainly that Hitlerism and the everlasting German Problem must be solved by overwhelming victory over Germany--or the world can not have peace at all save on the terms Hitler demands: abject surrender to his power.

A victory for Hitler means that none of these people would be allowed to hold their views, for all of them are Liberals and some of them are Socialists. Most of them would in fact end in concentration camps, like their fellows in Germany.

It may be that they carry non-resistance so far as to believe that the best thing to be done is to submit quietly to Hitler and attempt to win the Nazis over to Christian ethics again. But if so, then common fairness demands that they make it plain. Not many Americans believe anything so manifestly dubious as that. And all such demands as this do is to mislead a great many people into thinking that "peace without victory" can be had merely by asking Mr. Hitler for it.

Lucid Vision

A Young Woman Exhibits Great Powers as a Philosopher

Miss Alan Ruth Potter of Ann Arbor Mich, is clearly a young woman with a future. Whether she has yet been given an I.Q. test by the talent-hounds we don't know, but if not no time should be lost in remedying the neglect. Unmistakably, she bears the stamp of genius.

Witness. The young woman, who by the way is eight years old, received a dictionary as a gift from Dr. Eugene S. McCartney, an editor of the University of Michigan Press.

She conned it dutifully, and then wrote Doc McCartney, acknowledging the gift like a proper young woman. Said she:

"I think a dictionary is hard to use, because you use it to find out how to spell a word, but you have to know how to spell the word in order to find it in the dictionary in the first place."

There you have it--as we said, the unmistakable sign-manual of genius. No Newton was ever more logical and none of the philosophers ever more succinctly set forth the essential human dilemma.

Pure Hokum

A Red Outfit Attempts To Capitalize on a Rebuff

Mrs. Roosevelt has refused an invitation to address the so-called American Youth Congress at a session in Washington next month. So has the President, and so have Social Security Administrator Paul V. McNuttt, Defense Commissioner Laborman Sydney Hillman, and CI O President Philip Murray.

That gives Mr. Joseph Cadden, executive secretary of the outfit, a chance to pop off:

"We are sure young people will be interested to learn that not a single leading spokesman of the Administration is desirous of putting its policies to test of free discussion before the nation-wide town meeting of youth."

Which slightly distorts the matter, to say the least. Mrs. Roosevelt has leaned over backwards and more than backward in her effort to be tolerant toward the outfit. So have other spokesmen, official and unofficial, of the Administration, labor union groups, etc. Mrs. Roosevelt even swallowed gross insults and insisted the gang was not Communist.

But alas, the record has now made it amply plain that the Congress is a Red Front organization pure and simple, made up of Communist manipulators and their unhappy dupes. At the moment, like all other Communist organizations in the country, it is busily engaged in whooping it up for the Nazis by pretending a vast and burning love for peace and democracy and seeing a great menace to the latter in the lease-lend bill, all to the end of confusing and paralyzing the American people. That is the standard Moscow line now.

Like her or dislike her, Mrs. Roosevelt is afraid of nobody's honest free discussion, is one of the great champions of youth and its right freely to think its own thoughts. And neither is the President or any of the other people afraid of anybody. They simply refuse to be made sounding boards for Communist-Nazi propaganda. Which is as it should be.


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